‘Pack up and leave’: Honduras gives Taiwan 30 days to vacate embassy as ties brutally severed

Taiwan has been ordered to vacate its embassy in Honduras after a severing of diplomatic ties. The order was issued by the deputy foreign minister Antonio Garcia on local television as Taiwan recalled its ambassador to the country.

Mr Garcia gave Taiwan 30 days to leave. He said that 30 days “is more than enough time to pack up and leave” and added that the officials are aiming for an “orderly, friendly” exit.

Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jeff Liu said that 30 days was an “international norm” and that they would comment further later, according to Reuters.

This severing of ties came after Honduras president Xiomara Castro announced that her government will seek to establish diplomatic relations with China. That meant siding with the Chinese policy of not recognising Taiwan as a separate country.

In a statement late on Saturday, the Honduran foreign ministry said it recognised the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate government that represents all of China and that Taiwan is an “inseparable part of Chinese territory”.

The foreign ministry also announced that Honduran students with scholarships in Taiwan would be able to transfer their studies to China.

Mr Liu stated that the Honduran students’ scholarships would last until the end of the current term. And said that they would be provided one-way tickets home.

Honduras is the ninth diplomatic ally that Taipei has lost to Beijing since pro-independence president Tsai Ing-wen first took office in May 2016.

Last week, Taiwan said it was “deeply dissatisfied” with the breaking of diplomatic relations with Honduras which had lasted more than 80 years and urged Honduras to “be careful of the risks of China’s commitments made on its offer of diplomatic relations”.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s former president Ma Ying-jeou departed for a 12-day trip to China as scheduled, despite calls for him to cancel the trip after Honduras severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the Taipei Post reported.

“This is my first trip to China. I was 37 when I began handling cross-strait affairs in the government. Now I am 73 and have waited 36 years for the visit. It is indeed a bit too long, but I am glad I can go,” Mr Ma told reporters.

Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen on Saturday paid a visit to the army engineers and reviewed their training ahead of a trip to the US and Central America this week.

Ms Tsai will commence her high-profile and sensitive trip to the Americas on Wednesday. She is expected to meet US House speaker Kevin McCarthy in Los Angeles.

Her upcoming travels have been criticised by China, with Beijing condemning Washington for allowing Ms Tsai to visit the country. However, her visit to the US is technically only a transit.